“Welcome to my house. Enter freely and of your own will.” From this first intonation of his opening line in the 1931 horror classic “Dracula”, Bela Lugosi was a star. Suave and elegant, with opera cape, top hat and cane, sans the fangs and gore, Lugosi’s portrayal of Bram Stoker’s malignant villain virtually singlehandedly vaulted the vampire from grotesque to sex symbol. His sophisticated appearance and exotic eastern European accent set him in the firmament of Hollywood glitterati, indelibly linked with his undead character for all time.
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On October 25, 1978, in Kansas City, Missouri, director John Carpenter premiered his third feature film, “Halloween”, with a plot involving a psychotic, knife-wielding killer stalking a group of libidinous teens in a sleepy Illinois town on Halloween night. The movie starred Hollywood scion Jamie Lee Curtis, daughter of Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, in her film debut, with a role that would soon become known as that of “the final girl”, that is, the lone survivor of the killer’s rage. A new terminology was required, for “Halloween” broke unhallowed ground in the horror genre, essentially inventing the slasher film
On September 6th, 2018, noted actor Burt Reynolds suffered a heart attack and died at a Florida hospital. Reynolds was best known for his popular action films of the ‘70s and ‘80s, including “Smokey and the Bandit” and “The Cannonball Run”, but also received an Oscar nomination for his work in 1997’s “Boogie Nights”. During his heyday, Reynolds’ life was frequent tabloid fodder, with long-term relationships with singer and talk show hostess Dinah Shore, actress Sally Field (his co-star in the “Bandit” films) and TV personality Loni Anderson, whom he eventually married, then divorced.
On Saturday, 25 August 2018, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) succumbed to his battle with brain cancer, at his home outside Phoenix, Arizona, just four days before his 82nd birthday. The six-term senator, a former Republican nominee for president, had garnered a reputation as a maverick nonpartisan, a truthful, principled political actor who chastised his fellow Party members as freely as the opposition.
July 17, 2018 is the centennial anniversary of the assassination of Nicholas II, last Tsar of Russia, his wife Empress Alexandra, and their five children. Forced to abdicate in March 1917 in the aftermath of a disastrous Russian defeat in World War I, the family was held in captivity in various locations for almost 18 months, prisoners of one or another faction in the civil war which followed revolution, ending their lives in the basement of the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg, before an impromptu firing squad.
If Donald Trump maintains his grasp on the US presidency for the duration of his upcoming solar year, then he will likely complete his first term in office. He may even win reelection. But looking ahead at the year on tap, that’s a huge “if”. This appears to be the pivotal year for Trump, the one that decides how the remainder of his life unfolds.